I Care… But I Don’t
When I was in my late teens and early 20’s, I took a number of creative writing classes in college because I had every intention of becoming a full-time novelist. While I didn’t become the novelist I wanted to be, one thing I learned stuck with me: You never write a novel as much as you re-write one.
The same can be said about blog posts. I wound up tossing the original post I planned to publish on Monday morning because it just didn’t feel “right.” So here I am, on Monday evening, re-writing something entirely new.
A total re-write 12 hours after my self-imposed publication deadline wasn’t exactly in my plans, but hey… that happens. Flexibility is something I’ve learned to be okay with.
Now the question is, aside from not feeling right, why did I discard my original post in favor of this one? I honestly didn’t know until this afternoon, when some coworkers were sharing their frustrations about a number of things going on in the office.
One thing that clearly stood out is that my colleagues really care about doing a good job. They care so much, in fact, that they were quite literally working themselves into a state of depression. Although the question was never directly asked, the underlying tone of the conversation was, “How do you guys keep going when you’re so frustrated you want to rip your hair out?”
The simple answer for me is, “I care… but I don’t.”
Here’s what I mean:
When I first started down the path I’m on now, I was a big fan of personal development literature. I still am, but I’m more selective about what I read now. One of the early books I read was Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
One of the laws outlined by Dr. Chopra is the Law of Detachment. He describes the Law of Detachment as having a goal in mind, but being detached from the means of achieving that goal. If we insist that there is only one way to achieve a goal, we keep ourselves from seeing infinitely better, faster, or easier ways of achieving that goal.
The Law of Detachment was – and remains – a powerful tool I practice to this day. Another impactful book from that time is Mike Dooley’s Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams. In Mike’s book, he calls the attachment to a particular path “worrying about the ‘cursed hows’.”
Taken together, I can say that I don’t worry about cursed hows because I’m detached from how I meet the expectations of my job.
In other words, I care… but I don’t.
I care about doing a good job because that’s just part of who I am. I care about meeting my targets because I’ve made commitments to myself, my company, and to the people who are near and dear to me. I care because I want to have the money to pay for the things that are important to me.
I just don’t care about meeting quotas every day. I know what’s expected, so I do it. Period. I don’t care about what people think of me, I don’t care if the people I call hang up, and I don’t care if I’m working from a really crappy lead list (yes, I work in a sales department).
I don’t care because I know that if I stick to the basics of what I’m being paid to do, the details work themselves out. And by not caring, I find all sorts of creative ways to connect with the people I’m calling and I enjoy myself.
From my perspective, it’s very possible to care and not care at the same time. I care about my commitments and doing the things I want to do, but I don’t care about what path I take. I care about living a joyous life and having a positive impact, but I don’t care if someone unsubscribes from my mailing list. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, that’s fine.
There are infinite aspects to living joyously. My musings and reflections are merely one way of looking at life and enjoying it, but they’re not the way… although I always appreciate the feedback I get from people who tell me how much they enjoy what I write.
My whole point in this reflection is that there are many ways to care while not caring. Find what works and then run with it.
Because frankly, I do care. I just don’t care how you live your joyous life. The how is up to you.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.